Random links

Drug 'melts away' fat inside arteries
Quoting one of the researchers: "These have only been tested at pre-clinical level, in mice, so far but the results were quite impressive and showed that just a single dose of this drug seemed to completely reverse the effects of arthrosclerosis."
Woman Gets Pregnant While Already Pregnant: Rare 'Twin' Case Explained
"The 31-year-old woman, Jessica Allen, agreed to be a gestational surrogate ... Allen soon became pregnant with the other couple's baby, but at six weeks of pregnancy, she was told she was carrying twins. ... A month after she had given birth to the two babies, she learned that the "twins" were not identical. They looked different, and a DNA test confirmed that one baby was Allen's biological child and the other baby was the Chinese couple's child."
Chinese scientists may have just found a new way to feed 200 million people
"Scientists in China have developed several types of rice that can be grown in seawater ... There are one million square kilometres of land in China where crops do not grow because of high salinity. Scientists hope the development of the new rice will allow some of these areas to be used for agriculture."

Kazuo Ishiguro on "What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve received?"

From Kazuo Ishiguro Talks Zuckerberg, Game Of Thrones And His New Novel:

‘Write about what you know’ is the most stupid thing I’ve heard. It encourages people to write a dull autobiography. It’s the reverse of firing the imagination and potential of writers. But no one’s ever said that to me, oddly.

Generally speaking I tend to dislike the sort of authors who win prizes like the Nobel in Literature or the Man Booker but I actually rather enjoyed a few of Kazuo Ishiguro's books - particularly Never Let Me Go. My interests in the realm of fiction have tended to be fairly low-brow. Ishiguro winning the Nobel in Literature this year would probably have been enough for me to cross him off my to-read list so I suppose it's a good thing I read him before.

Random links

Master Trump’s game: Don’t get pissed. Do journalism.
It's advice that I wish the media would take but I don't really expect it to do so.
Exercising judgment in teaching about controversial issues
I think over all this does a pretty good job.
What works for crime reduction?
A Twitter thread. Doesn't look like jobs programs have that much to offer.
Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter?
"A larger number of women in evaluation committees does not increase either the quantity or the quality of female candidates who qualify. If anything, when evaluators’ are not familiar with candidates’ research area, gender-mixed committees tend to be less favorable towards female candidates than all-male committees"

On joking and diversity

From the Five Books post The best books on Free Speech:

I think humour is unbelievably important as a way we use free speech to live with diversity. The Today programme, on BBC Radio 4, is full of mild ethnic joshing between the English, the Welsh, and the Scots. That’s the sign of a really healthy society, when you’ve got to the point that you can joke about it.

In my book I quote something terribly interesting, which is that in Senegal, which is a very diverse society, there are actually rituals of inter-ethnic joking. Everybody does jokes, and then, when they’re asked, ‘Why is it that people get on quite well with their neighbours?’ a large proportion of them say, ‘Because of these joking rituals.’ What Amoz Oz says is, ‘I have never met a fanatic who has a sense of humour, or someone with a sense of humour who is a fanatic.’ And therefore, he says, he wants to manufacture humour pills and have them distributed free around the Middle East. I think that’s just such a great insight.

Note that Five Books runs quite a few interviews with various people in which they're encouraged to pick out their favourite 5 books about a subject they're an expert in. The site is often worth a look.


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